The Life of Mammals
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about playing animal documentaries for my neighbors. The past week or so I’ve been playing a David Attenborough series called The Life of Mammals. Initially I thought “Yeah, this will be a good one to show them. None of that Hollywood crap. Educational…animals…David Attenborough at 70+ years old climbing trees and snorkling, yes, yes, yes.” I didn’t take into account that I might be destabilizing much of what they know and understand about the earth and the life inhabiting this planet. Everyone (especially the kids) was really excited to see all the animals, but for each animal the children would naturally ask their father what the animal was. He confidently told them the sloth was a monkey, the echidna and pica were rats, etc. By the time the duck-billed platypus came swimming around, it was obvious his confidence had been shaken.
When I play Hollywood films the people here just chalk it off as “Ohh look at what those crazy white people and Chinamen gone up and done again. That’s amazing. Boom! Kill those bad guys! Karate chop his face! Those people have enough money.” When it comes to the natural world I think a lot of the people here think they already know basically all there is to know because some of them spend almost every day out in the wilderness farming, collecting firewood, or maybe some will travel to see relatives or buy goods.
By the end of a few episodes the look on my neighbor’s face seemed to say “Maybe I really don’t know that much at all and I will probably never see any of these other places in the world.” Which is unfortunately for him true. 99% of the people here live in a world of about 50 square kilometres. In this country that is half the size of Vermont some might move as far as the coast. As far as other countries go some might travel to Senegal. .001% will walk on another continent and that’s the dream for 90% of the population.In a similar incident I was at the neighborhood bar the other night, and the people there were watching an American show titled something like Daddy’s Spoiled Little Girl on satellite TV. It’s one of the only American TV shows I’ve seen on that channel. In this show the girl’s father took her to a car dealership and she was pissed off because her father wanted to buy her a silver $60,000 Mercedes sedan, and she already had a black $60,000 Mercedes sedan. She actually had her personal attorney come to the car dealership to argue her case. So he could keep his job, the attorney pleaded that she was promised the other car a few weeks ago. He lost, but maybe he kept his job. Later they went to check out a $1 million house for her, but she thought it was absolutely disgusting. The next morning this girl woke up at noon and started drinking in bed, and then three $1000 dresses came that she had delivered. Two of them were gross, but she picked out one for the day. Then her father called from the car dealership saying he had purchased the other car. She went to the dealership where her father was waiting, and then took the car without saying a word. People in other countries are watching this show that can't even afford a new donkey, goat, or chicken.
Be proud America. That is how people in other countries view you because you produce, watch, and support television shows like that every week. Did I mention the show was being broadcast on Arabic satellite television? I can’t seem to think why anyone would dislike us. Next time you're channel surfing try watching those ridiculous shows through the eyes of Third World farmers and goat herders!